Syrian Refugees - Clongowes Wood College

Posted: 23rd November 2015

Clongowes Wood College SJ

On Wednesday November 11th the Grammar CSPE classes received a visit from Mr. David Moriarty from the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). Mr. Moriarty spoke to us about the work of the JRS, the Syrian Refugee Crisis and the challenges that it brings to us as Europeans. We began by discussing the terminology relating to this issue. A refugee is somebody who has been forced to leave their native homeland due to war or being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality or political opinion and is then legally allowed to reside and work in the country to which they have fled. An asylum seeker is somebody who leaves their homeland for the same reasons, however they are seeking the right to be legally recognised as a refugee. There have been approximately four million people who have fled their country due to the conflict in Syria and many more are expected to leave. Most of these refugees have fled to neighbouring countries. Jordan has taken about 630,000 refugees, Turkey has taken about two million refugees and approximately 700,000 refugees and migrants have come to Europe this year alone.

Mr. Moriarty explained some of the reasons why certain European countries are hesitant to accept refugees. One of the reasons was that there is a concern amongst some European countries that as more refugees and migrants enter Europe, this would put European governments under pressure to provide employment for all its citizens. Another concern is that there may be cultural clashes amongst refugees and the native population of some European countries. Although not everything is clear-cut, I don’t think that it’s realistic that countries can take in refugees and that they will just settle and integrate straight away. This would take time and effort from both European governments and the refugees themselves. Mr. Moriarty also highlighted the point that refugees are trying to make the dangerous crossing to Europe over the Mediterranean Sea on small dinghies and many lives are being lost through their attempts to make this journey, such is their desperation to escape the difficulties that they are facing at home.

The JRS is on a mission to accompany, serve and advocate on behalf of refugees and other displaced people. They also give much needed assistance to the refugee camps in the countries of southern Europe, which are overcrowded and dangerously short on supplies. However, to really try and solve this problem we also need the support of people to influence their governments in Europe to work together to resolve the problem and to be compassionate towards the difficulties that refugees are facing when they arrive in Europe. Unfortunately, the process of accepting refugees across European countries is very slow at the moment and fewer than 200 refugees of the planned 160,000 have actually been relocated. As winter approaches in Europe, there will be serious consequences for their health unless they are relocated and cared for more quickly.

Following the talk, we were very proud to present Mr. Moriarty with a cheque for €225 on behalf of Clongowes. (Calum Doyle and Ryan McMahon pictured above, with Mr. David Moriarty and Mr Francis Marron) This donation to the JRS was collected within the school as part of the Book Character Dress Up Day on Wednesday November 4th. We are very grateful to Ms O’Loughlin for organising this event and for her all her efforts in making this collection. Finally, we would like to thank Mr Moriarty for taking the time to visit the boys of Grammar in Clongowes and for sharing his knowledge on the Syrian Refugee Crisis.

Ryan McMahon, Grammar

Categories: Ethos
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